Thursday, May 24, 2018

From Ian:

Danny Danon: Why the UN should condemn Hamas
In recent weeks, Israel has faced violence at the security fence separating our country from Gaza. Tens of thousands of Palestinians, incited by Hamas - some armed with guns, improvised explosive devices and Molotov cocktails - have approached the fence to tear down any obstacle in their way and infiltrate Israel.

Instead of directing their condemnations at this internationally recognized terrorist organization for their war crimes against both Palestinians and Israelis, some countries and UN bodies have not only embraced Hamas' propaganda but have even criticized Israel's right to self-defense.

Such baseless charges against Israel are morally unjust. Those who criticize Israel's legitimate actions are either unaware, or are willfully ignorant, of the clearly violent nature of what's happening at the Gaza border. Israel is defending itself from terrorists committing orchestrated attacks, not from activists leading an innocent protest.

The real tragedy is that this situation was - and remains - completely avoidable. Israel removed all Jewish communities and military facilities from Gaza in 2005. In the years following, we have facilitated the transfer of billions of dollars of aid for Gaza's local population.

Countries that criticize Israel must ask themselves how they would expect their security forces to react if terrorists armed with rifles and explosives marched on their borders.

The UN must use its power and resources to improve the situation on the ground in Gaza and enforce change. To do so it must start by condemning Hamas for attacking Israel and for holding the people of Gaza hostage.

PMW: PA and Fatah honor terrorists with huge billboard, including one serving 10 life sentences
Since the day of his arrest, the PA has paid terrorist Izz Al-Din Hamamrah a monthly salary, which by now totals $155,909 (540,600 shekels)

The Palestinian Authority and Abbas' Fatah have come up with yet a new way to honor terrorist prisoners. A huge billboard with numerous photos of so-called "fighting prisoners" was inaugurated in the town of Husan, west of Bethlehem.

PA TV News said the billboard immortalizes 17 prisoners who are serving long sentences. Among the prisoners on the billboard is terrorist Izz Al-Din Hamamrah, who is serving 10 life sentences for recruiting a suicide bomber who murdered 8.

The billboard was inaugurated at an event in which the head of the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Karake participated as well as the prisoners' parents, local school students, and a scouts group. Karake stated that the billboard is a sign of the "support for the prisoners":
Karake: "These [activities] are a kind of support, stand, and aid for the fighting prisoners who fought and sacrificed for Palestine. We say that the prisoners' cause is a central and main cause, and it is the criterion for any just peace in the region." [Official PA TV News, April 24, 2018]

Under Palestinian Authority law, the PA pays every terrorist prisoner a monthly salary. Since 2000, the PA has raised the monthly salaries a number of times. Currently, every prisoner's salary starts at 1,400 shekels/month and increases every few years, reaching as high as 12,000 shekels/month after 30 years. Until now, terrorist Izz Al-Din Hamamrah has received 540,600 shekels ($155,909) in reward for his crimes from the PA. His current salary is 6,000 shekels/month ($1,730).
PMW: We’ll take Jerusalem “if not peacefully then by force… Allah, drive out the Jews” - PA TV preacher
A preacher on official Palestinian Authority TV threatened that the Palestinians or Muslims in general will "soon" conquer Jerusalem "by force," unless it is handed over "peacefully":

"The Jews are an arrogant and tyrannical enemy, occupying Jerusalem and Palestine... Allah willing, we will soon take what was taken from us, if not peacefully then by force."[Official PA TV, April 13, 2018]

The preacher called on Allah to help "drive out the Jews" from Jerusalem, using the Muslims to do so. The preacher compared this to the way Allah helped drive out the crusaders who "left it humiliated and disgraced, dragging their tails behind them":
Preacher on PA TV: "The Jews are an arrogant and tyrannical enemy that is occupying the land of Jerusalem and the land of Palestine, and that they have no right to arrogance, tyranny, and occupation... Allah willing, we will soon take what was taken from us, if not peacefully then by force... How long did the European Crusaders live in this country? They lived here nearly 100 years, but by Allah's will, they left it humiliated.

They left it humiliated and disgraced, dragging their tails behind them, because Allah inscribed for this [Islamic] nation eternity and victory... Allah, protect our Al-Aqsa Mosque and our Jerusalem for us, and return it to the rule and sovereignty of the Muslims. Allah, drive the Jews out of it, humiliated and disgraced, by means of those [the Muslims] who are monotheists, humble, and purified."
[Official PA TV, April 13, 2018]

The same preacher asked Allah to "punish the wicked Jews" and prayed for their genocide in another sermon, which was broadcast by official PA TV in 2016 and exposed by Palestinian Media Watch:

Ruthie Blum: UNRWA's "Palestinian Refugee" Fraud?
In early 2018, President Donald Trump froze a large portion of the funding that the United States provides annually for UNRWA (the United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestine Refugees a in the Near East). Prior to imposing the $125 million freeze, Trump tweeted: "[W]e pay the Palestinians HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect."

The president's move came in response to the fact that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his henchmen yet again were rejecting American and Israeli peace overtures. Yet it was both welcome and necessary for reasons well beyond Palestinian intransigence. UNRWA not only has an abominable record of ties to terrorism, which makes a mockery of its mandate to " provide relief, human development and protection services;" but its entire existence is based on a false premise -- a special UN definition of "refugee" for Palestinians that sets them apart from other people in the world categorized as such. It thus has been able for decades to keep cash flowing freely into its coffers, providing "humanitarian services" for millions of Palestinians who are not refugees by any measure. As the ZOA's Morton Klein and Daniel Mandel recently wrote:

"All this stands in stark contrast to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the international body that deals with all refugee problems other than the Palestinian Arabs. UNHRC observes a universal definition of refugee status, one that applies solely to those who actually fled their country during hostilities, civil war, natural disaster, or other disturbances. UNHCR works to resettle refugees quickly and dismantle the temporary refugee camps housing them. Nor does it count descendants as refugees.

"This has immense practical ramifications: in literally all other cases other than the Palestinian Arabs, the number of refugees shrinks over time — chiefly through successful resettlement. In contrast, in the Palestinian Arab case, their numbers continue to expand ceaselessly.

"Thus, instead of the living original refugees officially numbering 30,000, UNRWA now services some 5.3 million Palestinian Arabs."

The actual number of Palestinian refugees is likely even lower than that cited by the authors: a classified State Department report, delivered to Congress in 2015, reveals it to be closer to 20,000. The report showed that billions of taxpayer dollars have been funneled over the years into an organization that seems to have been perpetuating a fraud. It is no wonder, then, that the Obama administration kept the report's contents a secret from the American public. More surprising is the fact that, since the report was first submitted to Congress in 2015 -- and subsequently exposed by the Washington Free Beacon in January, 2018 -- it has yet to be made public. To rectify this situation, fifty-one members of the House of Representatives signed a letter on April 18 -- spurred by the Middle East Forum -- calling on Trump to declassify the report.
The New Israel Fund’s Agenda: Defame Israel, Drag Its Officials before the ICC, and Encourage Support for Hamas among Its Arab Citizens
A self-styled “Zionist” organization committed to “progressive values,” the New Israel Fund (NIF) gives millions of dollars every year to far-left organizations inside the country. In response to the recent disturbances in Gaza, its beneficiaries sprang into action, with B’tselem and Breaking the Silence sending their representatives to slander the IDF on television while another recipient of its largesse, Adalah, participated in promoting a UN resolution condemning Israel for defending itself. Gilad Zwick elaborates:

At the end of the session at the UN where it was decided to investigate Israel, the Adalah lawyer Suhir Asad did not hide her disappointment at Australia for being one of the two countries voting against the resolution—the other being the U.S. Asad also fiercely condemned the representatives of states who dared condemn Hamas and had the temerity to agree that Israel has the right to defend itself. In other words, the Adalah representative does not consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization and thinks Israel does not have the right to exist. . . .

The involvement of the NIF in Israeli affairs does not end with activity abroad. It also supports protests in favor of Hamas by Israeli Arabs. During one such protest in Haifa on Friday, some nineteen people were arrested, including Jafer Farah, the director of the Mousawwa Center. . . . Mousawwa rejects Israel’s right of self-determination and in 2006 its activists published a position paper describing the country’s future as a “state of all its citizens” [rather than a Jewish state], a transformation that would include the changing of the national flag and anthem and the repeal of the Law of Return. . . . In 2014, while meeting with the president of the EU parliament, Farah [falsely] accused Israel of carrying out a “forced transfer” of the Arab population. . . . [T]he NIF gave Mousawwa more than 5 million shekels between 2008 and 2016.
Lame Excuse Jews
Ah, the risk of turning off American Jews. Yes, it is a risk. And apparently, the government is ready to take the risk. But why is there such risk? Is it because the government would not accept the support of both Jews and evangelicals? Of course not. Is it because the evangelicals would not extend their support if Jews also support Israel? Again, wrong answer. If there is a risk, it stems not from Israel shunning the Jews or from evangelicals shunning the Jews; it stems from Jews shunning the evangelicals, and possibly shunning an Israel supported by evangelicals.

In other words, it is not the choice of Israel, or of evangelical supporters of Israel, to turn off American Jews. It is the choice of American Jews to turn off. It is their choice to see the support of evangelicals as a reason, or excuse, to turn off (and, of course, we do not talk in Israel about all American Jews, we only talk about those Jews who “turn off”).

In many ways, the story of turning off because of evangelicals is not much different than the story of turning off because of other reasons — the Kotel compromise, Netanyahu in Congress, the Orthodox, the occupation, Gaza shooting, you name it. Israel does what it does, not always wisely, not always perfectly. Still, the choice to turn off is made by those turning off. And evangelical support is a lame excuse to turn off, as there is no mandatory either-or situation when it comes to supporting Israel. Jews can support Israel. Evangelicals can support Israel. One does not negate the other — unless you want it to.
Palestinian Lives Matter
Last week, I wrote a piece lamenting the fact that tens of thousands of Palestinians were being manipulated by a murderous terrorist organization to risk their lives for no other reason than its maniacal commitment to the destruction of the state of Israel. Many readers, including some former friends, wrote to tell me that I was a heartless monster for failing to sufficiently empathize with the Palestinians, and the accusation stung: Staunchly supporting Israel does and should not mean being unable to feel deeply moved by the despair of Gaza’s inhabitants, even if their calamity was brought about chiefly by their homicidal warlords.

And so, in the spirit of empathy, I’d like to offer a challenge of my own to all those—in the media, in prominent progressive organizations, and elsewhere—who were so rattled by the riots in Gaza. Call it a reality-based thought experiment. Here goes: Imagine a government, run by a bloodthirsty dictator, who bombed a heavily populated urban area containing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, reducing it to rubble. Furthermore, imagine that this benighted regime offered these poor Palestinians, the descendants of refugees living in squalor because of generations of systemic discrimination, two choices: Be ethnically cleansed from your makeshift neighborhoods, or continue to be bombed and gassed from the air until only a few thousand of you are left in the ruins. How would you react?

It ought to be a no-brainer: Covers in The New York Times condemning the massacre, impassioned pleas for justice from Senator Bernie Sanders, an emergency gathering of the UN Security Council, and prayer circles of progressive Jews all over the world, reciting the Kaddish for the murdered and chanting about Tikkun Olam. Right?

Wrong. In fact, none of these things would happen. Not one.
Injustin Trudeau
The backlash to Trudeau’s statement was strong and quick. He seems, perhaps unwittingly, to have stumbled onto a hornet’s nest and turned to two Jewish MPs to clean up his mess—Michael Levitt and Anthony Housefather, representing electoral ridings in Toronto and Montreal, respectively, with large Jewish populations. They issued a peculiar statement. While not directly critical of the prime minister, they unequivocally condemned and held Hamas responsible for the deaths and injuries at border clashes.

It seems that Trudeau tapped two rookie Liberal MPs, of a total of 184 in his caucus, to be the fig leaves for what seems to be a rather bifurcated and confusing policy on Israel. Some observers speculate that Trudeau hopes to use this clumsy doublespeak to allow him to be “correct,” depending on where and how the chips fall. By dereliction, the prime minister has signaled that the Israel-Gaza issue is a “Jewish” one, as opposed to one of the most important geopolitical crises in the world. Hamas, like Hizballah, Syria, the Houthis, is yet another Iranian proxy. It is disturbing that two Jewish MPs, representing “Jewish” ridings, are the only ones in the Trudeau government speaking out in support of Israel.

On social media, Mr. Housefather, in particular, refers to Canada’s consistent pattern of supporting Israel in UN votes as clear evidence of the prime minister’s true support. Whereas UN votes are important, surely, so are Trudeau’s public comments explaining his support for Israel. He tends to express himself in a sweeping, imprecise manner, oft-repeating distaste for the obsessive bullying of Israel in international forums. All of which is laudable. And he likes to say things about what good friends Canada and Israel are, but that even good friends can, sometimes, disagree.

Indeed, and those are likely the lines he trotted out when he spoke on the telephone with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu one day after his written thrashing of Israel following the Loubani incident. Netanyahu’s office declined to comment on the exchange, but Trudeau issued a short readout on the call, reporting that he had expressed “thanks for the consular assistance Israel is providing . . . reaffirmed Canada’s call for a neutral process to ascertain how the actions of all the parties concerned . . . contributed to the events of May 14, including the reported incitement by Hamas . . .” And that they “agreed on the importance of addressing the economic crisis in Gaza and jointly affirmed the close and abiding friendship between Canada and Israel.”

In other words, PM Trudeau did nothing to walk back his perfervid criticism of Israel other than to acknowledge, as a possibility, “reported incitement by Hamas.” As if there is any doubt. What Prime Minister Trudeau does not say, in this case, is far more important than what he does.
Behind the Smokescreen Part II - Exclusive footage from Gaza
After the tremendous success of the short movie Behind the Smoke Screen, which shows exclusive footage from inside the Gaza Strip and has been viewed over two million times so far, filmmaker Pierre Rehov produced a sequel sub-titled The Great Deception.

"I shot the video because I observed many times first hand how Palestinians build their propaganda and I strongly believe that no peace will be possible as long as international media believe their narrative instead of seeing the facts," the French filmmaker told The Jerusalem Post with the release of the first part of the footage.

"Hamas knows that it can count on the international community when it launches initiatives such as those 'peaceful protests' which have claimed too many lives already, while Israel has no choice but to defend its borders."

While part I of the footage from Gaza, aimed at changing the international perception of the six-week protest dubbed the "Great March of Return," dealt with the subjects such as animal cruelty, women and children being used as human shields and environmental issues of the tire protests, part II turns to the issue of the character of the protests, juxtaposing examples of the UN condemning Israel for using excessive force with footage of violent protests and Hamas propaganda.

The video shows Palestinian protesters holding a map of Israel including the Golan Heights, West Bank and Gaza overlaid with a Palestinian flag echoing the goal of Hamas specified in its charter, to conquer every last bit of Israel.
Behind The Smoke Screen 2 (final version)
While the UN is condemning Israel for defending itself against terror organization Hamas, the rest of the world has fallen into the Muslim terrorists' propaganda. Those images speak for themselves. The so called "Palestinians" have one ambition. To obliterate Israel. Their supporters have the same.

Former British Army Officer Analyses Israel-Gaza Situation

Palestinians Want To Drag Israel Into International Criminal Court On Bogus Charges
The Palestinian Authority claimed on Tuesday Israel was “brutal and calculated” in killing “unarmed” protesters on the Gaza border last week, requesting Israel be brought up on charges in the International Criminal Court.

Palestine’s supporters claim some sort of genocide of peaceful protesters took place, and they want the ICC to step in — even though it has no jurisdiction over Israel. The tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered on the border are anything but peaceful, however. Terrorist organization Hamas, which controls Gaza, frequently uses civilians as a shield to carry out attacks, and its leader heavily encouraged residents to join in protest. Protester attempted to plant explosives and repeatedly chanted, “Kill the Jews.” Fifty of the 62 protesters killed were active terrorists, Hamas also admitted.

Without a police force, the ICC would have to depend on Israel arresting and punishing its own citizens, to comply with a verdict made thousands of miles away and with no reasonable authority. Moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem was not intended to provoke Palestinians, David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, said last week.

As Israel hits new Gaza tunnel, Liberman says Hamas military project a ‘failure’
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday called on the Hamas terror group to recognize that its military project has been a “failure,” several hours after Israeli planes bombed several sites throughout the Gaza Strip, including a seaport west of Gaza City and a tunnel.

“Tonight the IDF destroyed another tunnel built by terror group Hamas,” Liberman wrote on Twitter. “The attempts to attack the State of Israel from the air, at the [border] fence and underground will be blocked with an iron wall and with the IDF’s might.”

“It would be better if Hamas leaders understood that their military project is a failure and instead invest the resources on improving the life for Gaza residents,” the defense minister added.

The military said the overnight strikes were carried out in response to an incident on Tuesday in which Gazans sneaked across the border and destroyed an Israeli sniper’s post.
Czech FM: Hamas alone responsible for deadly Gaza violence
In a rare European expression of support for Israeli actions on the Gaza border, the Czech Republic’s top diplomat on Thursday said Hamas alone was to blame for the recent flareup of violence there.

In a statement entitled “Gaza — Telling things as they really are,” Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický also posited that deadly riots on May 14 had nothing to do with the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on that day.

“The fact is that Hamas, which is also recognized by the European Union as a terrorist organization and which still does not recognize Israel, is the only true ruler of the Gaza Strip, and as such is fully responsible for the form and objectives of the violent actions that have occurred on the border between Israel and Gaza in recent weeks,” he said.

The result of the weekly riots, which started last month and during which Israeli troops killed more than 100 Palestinians, most of them members of Hamas, was undeniably “tragic,” his statement read.

“We have unequivocally expressed our concern and regret over the loss of human lives,” he said. “In this context, however, it must be stressed that this concern is not only about the victims of the ongoing violence, but also about its causes, including who initiated it.”
Former Israeli FM Livni: “Hamas Wanted To See Its Own People Killed on the Border”
During the recent violent riots held at Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, Hamas “wanted to see its own people killed on the border while we tried to avoid it,” Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, told a group of reporters hosted by The Israel Project Wednesday.

Livni’s charge accurately reflects statements made last week by Yahya Sinwar, the Gaza-based head of Hamas. Sinwar told Al Jazeera that “the sacrifice of” Palestinian children would serve “as an offering for Jerusalem and the Right of Return.” He also said that Hamas was prepared to sacrifice “that which is most dear to us – the bodies of our women and children” to achieve its goals.

Looking at the region, Livni identified Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, as threats based on their religious ideology that does not accept the right of Israel to exist. She clarified that though the conflict she identified could be viewed as a religious war, it wasn’t a war between Muslims and all others, but between the believers in the extreme ideologies and others, including moderate Muslim states.

This breakdown, Livni argued, presented Israel with an opportunity to present a united front with the Sunni Arab states. What limits more active and public cooperation between Israel and its potential Arab allies is the Palestinian issue. Since the Arab League presented its peace initiative in 2002, it has been, what she called “the glass ceiling” limiting Israel’s cooperation with moderate Sunni states.

Honest Reporting: Gaza Border Coverage: The Blame Game
Israel undoubtedly took a substantial hit in much of the media as a result of the recent Gaza border violence. Questions are now being asked as to why it appears that Israel was unable to effectively tell its side of the story to the journalists on the ground and editors in the newsrooms around the globe.

We know from our own bitter experience that some media outlets will almost always run with the Palestinian narrative and perhaps no amount of explanation on the part of Israeli officials will turn this around.

Nonetheless, the Jerusalem Post’s editor Yaakov Katz was highly critical of the IDF’s handling of the public relations effort. The Times of Israel also surveyed whether the PR battle was unwinnable or just mismanaged.

On the other hand, there is still plenty of blame laid at the door of the media themselves. Danny Seaman, the former director of Israel’s Government Press Office argues that years of biased Mideast coverage has damaged media credibility to the point that it is indeed vulnerable to accusations of “fake news.”
IsraellyCool: LISTEN: South African Radio and TV Personality Gareth Cliff Defends Israel
Gareth Cliff is a highly popular South African radio and television personality with over 1.89 million followers on Twitter, and over half a million page likes on Facebook.

Last week, he discussed the palestinian “march of return” and the resultant casualties from the riots. His comments are right on point.

Gareth has received a lot of flack for his stance, especially given that South Africa is not exactly friendly to Israel, which is something I am sure he knew would happen.

So props to Gareth for choosing truth over popularity.

Not Even Tom Friedman Believes New York Times Gaza News Coverage
How was the New York Times’ coverage of the Gaza suicide-riots? So off-target that not even the Times’ own Pulitzer Prize-winning op-ed columnist, Thomas Friedman, believed it.

The Times news columns had been insisting that the suicide-riots (to use a term I picked up from a Weekly Standard editorial) were drawing international sympathy and attention to the Palestinian cause. Perhaps this was wishful thinking, or a self-fulfilling prophecy, but, in any event, that was the Times’ story, and it was sticking to it, at least until Friedman came along.

A “news analysis” in the April 8 Times by Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger reported, “Palestinians seem energized and enthusiastic about sustaining a generally nonviolent form of protest — even if it is Israel’s harsh response to it and the mounting Palestinian death toll that has put their conflict with Israel back on the international agenda…The Israelis, for a variety of reasons, have long been worried about such a shift. And they now find the world paying attention as they use disproportionate force to prevent what they believe could be a catastrophic breach in the Gaza fence.”

Now comes Friedman, in a May 23 New York Times op-ed:
history is full of such injustices and of refugees who have reconciled with them and moved on — not passed on their refugee status to their kids and their kids’ kids. It’s why so few Arabs, so few Europeans, so few anybody, rose to Hamas’s defense. People are fed up with it.

So the Times news columns imagine “widespread international anger,” “international censure,” “intensified international attention and censure,” and “the world paying attention.” Friedman, on the other hand, writes that “so few Arabs, so few Europeans, so few anybody, rose to Hamas’s defense. People are fed up with it.” These two depictions of reality, if not flat-out contradictory, are at least in tension with each other. My own sense is that on this particular point — measuring the scope, severity, and gravity of overall world reaction to the Gaza riots — Friedman has a more accurate perception of it and is closer to the truth of the matter than the Times news columns are.
BBC News plays down Hamas role in Gaza violence – part one
It is of course not claimed that Hamas has “forced” people to take part in the ‘Great Return March’ events. Hamas has, however, been involved in their organisation from the outset and has laid on transport and promised financial compensation to casualties and participants. Hamas leaders whipped up fervor prior to the May 14th events, urging participants to “bring a knife or a gun” and to use them “to capture soldiers or residents of Israel”.

What BBC audiences will remember though is that “no-one” told Jeremy Bowen that Hamas had sent them.

Viewers heard from a doctor at the Shifa hospital before the report ended:
Bowen: “This is the busiest time at the hospital since the 2014 war.

Sabbani: “As a human being I speak. It’s…it’s horrible to think about if you see yesterday the situation, it’s horrible. Crying, bleeding, pain, painful. What’s happening?

Bowen: “After the protests it seems that many people are hoping for some kind of turning point but the fundamentals of this conflict don’t change.”

The BBC’s Middle East editor’s job is to “make a complex story more comprehensive or comprehensible for the audience”. Obviously playing down Hamas’ role in the violence audiences saw on their TV screens on May 14th does not meet that purpose and – as we shall see in part two of this post – Bowen was not the only BBC journalist doing just that.
BBC News plays down Hamas role in Gaza violence – part two
As we saw in part one of this post, a filmed report by Jeremy Bowen aired on May 16th downplayed Hamas’ role in organising, encouraging and facilitating the ‘Great Return March’ publicity stunt that has been going on since the end of March.

A report from the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman heard by listeners to BBC Radio 4’s ‘World at One’ on the same day included the same messaging.

Presenter Sarah Montague introduced the item (from 25:03 here) by promoting a narrative seen in much of the BBC’s coverage: alleged linkage between the ‘Great Return March’ violence – repeatedly described as “protests” – and the relocation of the US embassy in Israel.
UN Human Rights Council: Shoot (Your Mouth Off) First, Ask Questions Later (satire)
In a vote for an inquiry regarding the recent clashes at Israel’s border with Hamas-controlled Gaza, Australia voted against the resolution on the basis that “The UNHRC resolution pre-judged the outcome of an inquiry”. Britain abstained from the vote on the basis that it could not support an investigation that ignored Hamas’s role, and any media coverage of the conflict might interfere with celebration of Meghan and Harry’s wedding.

UNHRC chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein (who has no ingrained bias against Israel), has responded indicating that by reaching the conclusion before the investigation, the investigators job is simplified. The UN, which has been criticized for anti-Israel bias by previous UN chief Ban Ki Moon, “is the ideal organization to independently investigate”, said Mr al-Hussein “Look how well it worked with the Goldstone report; well, until Goldstone himself recanted the findings.”

The Syrian representative to the UNHRC defended its harsh critique of Israel, saying: “With our record over the last 6 years we are the authorities on human rights abuses”.
IDF soldier critically injured by stone slab dropped on him in West Bank
An IDF soldier from an elite unit was critically wounded early Thursday morning when a stone block was dropped on him at a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank, the military said.

The piece of marble was thrown from a third-story rooftop at a group of troops who were conducting an arrest raid in the al-Am’ari refugee camp near Ramallah, the army said.

The block hit the soldier in the head, and he was taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in critical condition.

The soldier served in the elite Duvdevan Unit, which operates extensively in the West Bank.

According to the army’s initial investigation, he was wearing a helmet at the time of the attack.

The assailant was not arrested.

The military said it launched an investigation into the incident and that additional details were still being established.
Liberman vows to nab, ‘dead or alive,’ Palestinian who dropped slab on soldier
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman vowed Thursday to catch the attacker who critically injured an Israeli soldier from an elite unit by dropping a marble slab three stories down onto his head during an army operation to arrest a wanted man near Ramallah in the West Bank.

“We view the incident with great severity,” Liberman wrote on Twitter.

“The despicable terrorist who hurt him won’t know any rest. It won’t be long before we lay our hands on him, dead or alive,” Liberman said.

He said that the whole of Israel was praying for the soldier’s recovery.
Defense Minister: 3,900 settlement homes to be green-lit next week
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced Thursday that the government body responsible for authorizing settlement construction will green-light 3,900 housing units in the West Bank next week.

He said that the Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee, which falls under his office’s jurisdiction, will grant final construction approval for 2,500 homes while an additional 1,400 in 30 settlements will be advanced through various other planning stages.

The defense minister said that among the plans slated to be approved are projects for 400 homes in Ariel, 460 homes in Ma’aleh Adumim, a 250-unit assisted living center in Elkana, 180 in Talmon, 170 in Neve Daniel, 160 in Kfar Etzion, 150 in Kiryat Arba, 130 in Avnei Hefetz, 130 in Tene Omarim, 80 in Hinanit, 60 in Halamish, 45 in Ma’ale Efraim and 40 in Avnei Hafetz. The sites of the other 245 homes were not specified.

“We have committed ourselves to promoting construction in Judea and Samaria,” said Liberman in a statement, using the biblical term for areas of the West Bank. “In the coming months, we will continue to settle and develop Judea and Samaria in practice.”
Palestinians slam Israel for flouting all laws in settlement announcement
Senior Palestinian Authority official Saeb Erekat on Thursday slammed Israel for announcing new West Bank settlements, saying it showed that Israel felt itself above all laws and called for the International Criminal Court to launch a probe into Israel’s actions.

The approval for 2,500 Jewish homes in the West Bank delivered the message that Israel felt it was “above the laws of man, above the Security Council, above the International Criminal Court, above the Human Rights Council,” Erekat said.

Defense Minster Avigdor Liberman announced earlier Thursday that the government body responsible for authorizing settlement construction would green-light 3,900 housing units in the West Bank next week.

He said that the Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee, which falls under his office’s jurisdiction, would grant final construction approval for 2,500 homes while an additional 1,400 in 30 settlements would be advanced through various other planning stages.
Left-wing activist who turned in Palestinian land-sellers to be indicted
A left-wing Jewish activist who was exposed in a television report accusing him of helping Palestinian officials track down and possibly execute Palestinians who were considering selling land to Jews will be indicted for aiding the Palestinian Authority.

This would make Ezra Nawi the first Jew to be tried for aiding the Palestinian Authority — prohibited for Israelis under a clause from the 1995 Oslo Accords that subsequently entered Israeli penal law, with a sentence of up to five years in prison.

The Judea and Samaria District Police originally recommended that the prosecution charge Nawi and another activist of the left-wing Ta’ayush organization — Guy Butavia — with the far more serious crimes of contacting a foreign agent and conspiracy to commit a crime.

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